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CLOUDS will increase today with light rain or drizzle across portions of the area by late in the day. After another break in the weather late Saturday through Sunday, a round of heavier rain is expected Monday. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 47F under clear skies (which won't last long) this Friday morning on the coast as a system approaches. We might see a shower later today, or not? A cloudy weekend is forecast then a chance of rain on Monday. It's looking clear for a while after Monday currently.
BURN BAN LIFTED
The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Mendocino Unit is lifting the suspension of residential outdoor burn permits. This suspension will be lifted on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at 12:01 a.m.
CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Luke Kendall is formally cancelling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agriculture and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days. Agriculture burns must be inspected by CalFire prior to burning until the end of the peak fire season.
Inspections may be required for burns other than agriculture burns.
Burn Permits are available online from CalFire at Burn Permits (ca.gov). Important: CalFire Burn Permits are only for residents who live in the State Responsibility Area (SRA), or where CalFire has jurisdictional authority. It is the responsibility of the landowner to check with local fire agencies to determine any additional permits that might be required and if there are any additional burning restrictions for their area.
You must have possession of a signed permit while you are conducting a burn. If you lose your permit or it expires, you will need to obtain another permit before you start burning.
Safe residential pile burning of forest residue by landowners is a crucial tool in reducing fire hazards. State, Federal, and Local land management and fire agencies will also be utilizing this same window of opportunity to conduct prescribed burns aimed at improving forest health and resiliency on private and public lands.
Before you burn, call Mendocino County Air Management District at (707) 463-4391 to confirm that you have all the required burn permits and to ensure it is a permissive burn day. Burning can only be done on permissive burn days and is prohibited on non-burn days.
For additional information on how to create Defensible Space, on how to be prepared for wildfires, as well as tips to prevent wildfires, visit http://www.Ready ForWildfire.org.
UKIAH GIANT PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFFS
Three decades: There have been some whoppers
Champion pumpkin grower Ben Fillmore has won Ukiah’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off numerous times. This Ukiah Daily Journal photo is from the competition of two decades ago, and was published Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003. It shows Ben Fillmore with his 12-year-old granddaughter, Skylee, and that year’s 960-pound pumpkin weigh-off winner. At that time, the pumpkin weigh-off took place on Saturday morning in the Ukiah Safeway parking lot. (File photo by Herman Magdaleno/The Ukiah Daily Journal)
The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off has been a fan favorite for decades in Ukiah, kicking off a weekend of PumpkinFest fun each October.
This year’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off will be on Friday, Oct. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. in downtown’s Alex R. Thomas Jr. Plaza.
“Cash prizes over $3,000 will be awarded including the top prize of $1.50 per pound for the winner,” City of Ukiah Recreation staff stated in a Facebook post, adding that “the record for pumpkins weighed in Ukiah is 1109 lbs. from Ben Fillmore in 2008! Can anyone top that this year?”
Friday’s weigh-off event will include music, refreshments and free children’s activities.
Following Friday’s reckoning with the scale, the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off contenders will be a featured attraction of Saturday morning’s PumpkinFest Parade, which is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 14, rain or shine. After the parade, the pumpkins will be on display throughout PumpkinFest weekend.
This year’s PumpkinFest theme is “medieval,” and the weekend celebration will include an Artisan Marketplace food court, scarecrow city, haunted house, Scout o’ Rama, a baking contest and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
City of Ukiah staff have compiled the following list of the winning Giant Pumpkin entries, which brought back a lot of happy PumpkinFest memories for me, and likely for many others as well. It’s a fun read. Best wishes to all of this year’s contenders!
The winners: 1993 to 2022
1993 >> Dorothy Francis, 429 pounds
1994 >> Mike Brock, 537 pounds
1995 >> Kathryn Fillmore, 458 pounds
1996 >> David Gowan, 637 pounds
1997 >> Brock Farms, 606 pounds
1998 >> David Gowan, 714 pounds
1999 >> Mike Brock, 634 pounds
2000 >> Ben Fillmore, 778 pounds
2001 >> Ben Fillmore, 430 pounds
2002 >> Ben Fillmore, 677 pounds
2003 >> Ben Fillmore, 960 pounds
2004 >> Mike Brock, 787 pounds
2005 >> Ben Fillmore, 1,021 pounds
2006 >> Ben Fillmore, 921 pounds
2007 >> Ben Fillmore, 992 pounds
2008 >> Ben Fillmore, 1,109 pounds
2009 >> Ben Fillmore, 1,103 pounds
2010 >> Ben Filmore, 1,048 pounds
2011 >> Mike Brock, 1,039 pounds
2012 >> England Family, 756 pounds
2013 >> Mike Brock, 873 pounds
2014 >> Amy Tse, 740 pounds
2015 >> Ben Fillmore, 541 pounds
2016 >> Ben Fillmore, 1,076 pounds
2017 >> Ben Fillmore, 1,081 pounds
2018 >> Madison Thomson, 795 pounds
2019 >> Shelby Medina, 840 pounds
2020 >> John Mendoza, 644 pounds
2021 >> Scott Harrison, 406 pounds
2022 >> Medina Family, 443 pounds
PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE SATURDAY MORNING
The eclipse will be viewable here in Mendocino county as a partial solar eclipse this Saturday morning, October 14th. The eclipse begins at 8 am local time, full phase starts just after 9 am, and the maximum phase will be at 11 am. The eclipse will be over just before 2 pm.
Saturday's eclipse will originate out in the north-eastern Pacific west of Victoria Island. The total eclipse will be visible along a long and narrow path that curves across the American West from Oregon to Texas, after which it will pass over the Gulf of Mexico, cross the Yucatán peninsula, and then over parts of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, to finally dip down into the southern hemisphere to cross the entire length of Brazil as its final act. NASA will be hosting telescope live-streams of the eclipse from various cities in the path of totality.
A partial eclipse will be viewable for millions of people outside the band of totality, across a far wider scope of the Americas, from Alaska to Argentina. You can get more information, including maps of the eclipse, list of cities in the path of totality and eclipse times for all locations at Time and Date. This is the first of two solar eclipses that will cross the United States, the second one comes next spring.
An annular eclipse is a total eclipse that occurs when the Moon is closer to apogee, its furthest point from Earth, and thus smaller in size from our vantage point. The Sun is not perfectly obsured by the Moon and its outer edge blazes in a ring.
— Elaine Kalantarian
PS: Remind your family members NOT to look directly at the sun. Regular sun glasses are NOT good enough.
FORT BRAGG FIRST TO BRING NEW DESALINATION TECHNOLOGY TO THE WEST COAST
by Mary Benjamin
The City of Fort Bragg was awarded a state grant of $1.49 million from the Department of Water Resources to pilot a cutting-edge desalination technology developed by Oneka Technologies of Canada. Oneka Technologies has some desalination systems operating worldwide, such as in Chile and Florida.
Oneka was seeking a coastal client in California as their first venture into the complex state environmental protection requirements that California demands for activities in the ocean. Fort Bragg has been pursuing avenues to acquire more water sources for the city since 2008.
John Smith, Director of Fort Bragg Public Works, said that Oneka came to them. “They were motivated,” he said, “and they wanted to bring their system to California coastal communities. We were a good match.” Oneka even assisted the city with the grant application process.
The motivation for Fort Bragg to accept the opportunity dwelt on years of concern about water resources. “We are and were desperate for water sources,” explained Smith. “We like to be proactive before we get into trouble.” Smith was referring to the drought summers of 2015 and 2021.
“We were in dire straits,” Smith said. “By February of 2021, we realized we had a problem. That’s when we began working on the brackish desalination of water from the Noyo River.” The city was able to pull together grant money from the state to build the small unit.
He added, “We also worked with the National Guard because they have two or three small units they can deploy.” The possibility of running out of water first became clear in 2015. Reoccurring again in 2021 pushed the city into action for backup solutions.
Desalination plants along the coastlines of the world are nothing new. However, they have proven to be a threat to the environment. Operating these plants requires a tremendous amount of energy. The plants can produce usable water from only 50% of the seawater they take in. The unused water is extremely salty, up to 100%-150% of the ocean’s natural salinity rate.
This water is treated as refuse and is dumped back into the ocean, but its high salinity damages sea life along the coasts. A plant’s seawater intake also pulls in sealife small enough to go through the pipes. This is another disruption of the ocean’s intricate ecosystem.
Many other desalination systems have been developed over the past twenty years, but none offer the environmentally safe method that Oneka Technologies provides. Oneka’s models are off-shore mobile units anchored to the sea floor that require no outside source of energy to operate. The units are made from recycled plastics.
The Oneka models operate on wave power. Using the strength of wave action, the buoys’ paddles turn as they bob down to pull up seawater through a specialized mesh that screens out sealife and larger contaminates. As the units bob back up, the paddles turn to send the seawater through pressurized pipes that perform reverse osmosis to create fresh water.
The processed water is then pumped by pipe to a collection center on the coast for storage and use. The water remaining after the process is complete is only about 30% saltier than the ocean and is dispersed back into the sea in small amounts that are easily restored to the ocean’s natural salinity.
These small mobile units can be distributed over a wide area to harness wave action which prevents a high concentration of brine released in any one small area. They can also be moved to other locations as necessary. In contrast, a United Nations study asserts that land-based desal plants expel enough brine daily into the coastal waters to cover the entire state of Florida in twelve inches of liquid.
Water is the number one resource necessary for human survival. Looking into the future, water resources will become more scarce. Currently, 1% of the world’s people have no access to fresh water without desalination. By 2050,10% of the world will be reliant on desalination. In numbers, this represents a billion people.
At this time, Fort Bragg is still in the permit process stage. John Smith describes this as “a very specialized area” handled by consultants. Some permits will take a year for process and approval. Right now, Oneka has two wave buoys off the coast that will determine the best location for the unit the city will receive.
Oneka will install the unit, build the pipe to the coastline, and monitor and maintain the unit for the year’s pilot program. Oneka will also be training volunteer fishermen to conduct basic cleaning and repair maintenance. The particular model the city will most likely opt for is about 26 feet x 20 feet in size and delivers a daily amount of 13,000 gallons of fresh water.
According to John Smith, the city needs up to 900,000 gallons a day to supply its customers with water. “We used to use up to a million gallons a day,” said Smith, “but our customers have definitely participated in our request to reduce water use.” Should the city eventually become a Oneka customer, the system will be for secondary use.
Another Public Works project is the addition of three more reservoirs to the one out on Summer Lane. Smith noted that the city is conducting an assessment of the entire water system. He predicted that in four years, “the city will be solid after. We’ll armor everything we can.”
Meanwhile, two water tanks are already in place at the water plant to store the unit’s fresh water. Noting how the entire process occurs out on the buoy, Smith is excited to see how it all works. “It’s a privilege to be part of this,” he said. The project also reinforces the city’s commitment to its Blue Economy Initiative goals.
The city will keep its small desalination plant to draw water from the Noyo River if needed. Smith said, “That worked out great, but still not good enough to provide an actual source. Oneka’s units are scalable. We can have buoys of different sizes.”
Smith is looking for public input about the city’s critical needs, such as water sources. He would like as many people as possible to participate in a short survey currently on the city’s website. To take the survey, go to city.FortBragg.com and scroll to the bottom of the homepage to “News and Stories.” Click on “Help Us Understand the Community’s Needs!” and then click on “Take the Survey.” English and Spanish are options.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
THE LATE HARRY MERLO, former CEO of Louisiana-Pacific, owned several thousand forested acres west of Cloverdale. Merlo, who’d flown to Icarian heights as he plundered Mendocino County’s forests, so high he hired Pavarotti to sing for L-P’s shareholders, ended rather ignominiously when he was summarily dumped by L-P’s board of directors when the directors discovered they were personally liable for Harry’s failed glue board product. In Cloverdale, Merlo got himself a conservation easement having nothing to do with conservation, but what else is new with conservation easements? if you came in late, these things are tax dodges for the well-to-do. In exchange for not cutting down the trees on their property they got a nice break on their property taxes. The public benefit? The pure joy of knowing that our fiscal betters maintain their own trees in the upright position.
THE DAILY CRUSH of events, never so crushing as lately, what with Armageddon kicking off in the Middle East, local affairs tend to get lost in the global din, and local history simply gets lost. Period.
A caller asked, “Are you familiar with the North Cliff Hotel in Fort Bragg?” Yes, intimately. Its owner, Dominic Affinito, got away with an extra ocean-blocking floor by keeping broke-ass Fort Bragg in endless litigation until Fort Bragg had to give up because legal fees were threatening to bankrupt the town. Why the Coastal Commission let Affinito get away with an extra floor is not known, but as we can see from the numerous dentist complexes fouling the Coastal bluffs, it’s seem obvious that money talks louder than ever. Used to be the great Mark Massera of the Surf Riders was a lone voice on the Coastal Commision to stop these architectural excrescences fouling the ocean bluffs but he’s gone.
AT WHICH POINT the caller shrieked, “Too much information!” and hung up. Well, goddamit, ask an old coot a question don’t expect a tweet in response, you, you, you…. cyber ninny!
ANDERSON VALLEY’S most famous son. The late Edwina Knivila long ago sent me a clipping from the Sacramento Bee, which mentioned one of Anderson Valley’s most illustrious native sons, Claude Brinegar. Edwina recalled that Mr. Brinegar was known as “Sonny” Brinegar when he was growing up in the Anderson Valley. “Sonny” went from the Little Red School House all the way to Secretary of Transportation in the Nixon Administration. He has also been an oil company executive and a visiting scholar at Stanford University in addition to serving on the board of directors of Amtrak. Sonny finished his career as a member of the California Citizens Compensation Commission where, as a product of a place and time that accurately assessed value, he opposed the round of raises our governor and various other career officeholders awarded themselves within hours of their elections.
RECEIVED this single line inquiry in Tuesday’s mail: “If you were arrested and charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
Well, let me begin by saying that in my callow youth, and never has a more callow youth lived, and deep into the novels of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, and having worked for a couple of weeks toting lumber at New Camaldoli where a a Catholic order of hermit monks was digging in to pray for humanity, I was quite drawn to Christianity.
TWO OF US were hitchhiking up Highway One from San Luis Obispo, circa maybe 1962, when we got a ride from a youngish man who said he was a monk from Italy. He would give us meals and an austere room if we would help carry lumber around a building project high on a Big Sur ridge where his order of Italian monks was building a “retreat.” Our job was to muscle lumber to the various sites where monk’s cells were under construction.
COUNT ME IN. The monks were all young guys who spent their days in their “cells,” one room cabins, praying for the salvation of humanity, a very large task as even this callow youth understood. I was beguiled by the serenity of the place, the silent non-verbal services rung in by bells, who wouldn’t be? A ridge top in Big Sur before… Well, before even hermit monks realized the world was permanently off the rails, the monastic, spiritual life, spiritually demanding, disciplined — not the jive bullshit spirituality common these days, appealed to me in the literary agape of ignorant youth.
The monks were all young men who had taken vows of silence. My job was to leave meals on the monks' doorstep. Never saw any of them other than the services late in the afternoon.
NO FRIEND OF REDWOODS
When former state Sen. Barry Keene tried to discredit the accuracy of my new book, “The Ghost Forest,” I found the whine of his lament, and the specious character of his letter, true to form.
As I demonstrate in my book, Keene was a great friend of the redwood timber industry, a legislator who actively opposed redwood preservation. In the 1970s he stood with timber interests to prevent expansion of Redwood National Park. During U.S. Senate hearings on the proposed expansion, Keene said, “There is no overriding national interest in park expansion.”
Keene also actively opposed saving the ancient redwoods in Humboldt County owned by Pacific Lumber Co. and seized by Maxxam during the 1980s. On Sept. 5, 1986, I asked Keene if it would be possible to legislate a moratorium on logging old-growth redwood. He answered, “What for? What good are they then? The old growth has basically stopped growing, and if you don’t cut them, then they just stand there not doing anyone any good.”
I could cite a dozen additional examples of Keene backing the redwood timber industry. He was rarely a friend of the forest.
JOHN REDDING: I hope someone can help me with this. California has a law that identifies the number of affordable homes each community is required to have. This program is called RHNA or Regional Housing Needs Allocation. If a community is not meeting this requirement, the permitting rules are relaxed in order to spur more construction. According to information posted by Fort Bragg itself, it appears to me that the city is not in compliance or even close to it. I am hoping someone can confirm this. And if not, why hasn't a developer taken advantage of the law? Just wondering. … If a new 1,000 sq. ft. home costs $500k and the interest rate is 7%, the annual mortgage would be $40k. To even qualify for such a loan, the annual income would need to be 3x that. That puts it out of reach of almost any first-time buyer. If and when the interest rate drops, the math gets a little more friendly. The annual mortgage would be $25k. Which means a family with two working members could afford it but with little wiggle room. But it is always such for first time buyers.
TED WILLIAMS: developers tell me the cost of development exceeds market value, meaning it costs more to build a house than they can collect on sale.
(First Hopland and Mendocino; Could Boonville be next?)
Re: Consent Calendar Agenda Item 3x (Tuesday, October 17, 2023): Acceptance Of Informational Update By Department Of Transportation On Town Of Mendocino Public Streetside Litter Containers And Approval Of Amendment To County Policy Number 14 ‘Encroachment Permits,’ Adding Provisions For An Adopt-A-Can Program (Town Of Mendocino And Hopland Areas)
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Honorable Board Members:
For several years now, the 26 public streetside litter containers in the Town of Mendocino have been plagued with problems, including attracting illegal household dumping and animal access causing trash to be spread on the sidewalk. In July 2022, the level of service to the cans was increased permanently by one day per week, resulting in three pickups per week during the high tourist season and two weekly pickups during the low season. This helped to alleviate the issue but has not solved it completely.
On February 28, 2023, the Board of Supervisors held a discussion regarding the ongoing issues and directed staff to return with a plan to remove the containers. Following media coverage of the Board’s discussion, Department of Transportation (DOT) was contacted by numerous business owners and residents in the Town of Mendocino, pleading for the County to not remove the cans. At this point, DOT agrees the cans should not yet be removed and proposes to try some other interim solutions prior to taking the drastic measure of removing the service altogether. Shortly after the February meeting, DOT drafted and sent a letter (attached for reference) to all property owners in the Mendocino Village without curbside hauling service as well as to an email listserv of Town of Mendocino residents and business owners that was provided by one of the callers.
The letter (below) informed residents, businesses, and property owners of the prohibition against disposing of residential or commercial waste in the street cans, and the possible ramifications of doing so. The letter also informed landlords of their legal requirement to provide waste receptacles for tenants and provided information on curbside hauling and transfer station services. In the months following the letter, DOT staff did three surveys of the cans on different days of the week and different times of day to gauge whether the current level of service is sufficient. On no occasion did staff find a single can overflowing, indicating the service level is adequate. The one issue noted was a small amount of fugitive litter, which may be caused by animals pulling it out of the cans.
To address the animal issue, there are a couple possible solutions. One option would be to replace the cans with new, animal resistant receptacles. This option would be quite costly, with cans ranging from $800 to $2,000 each, plus the cost of installation. A second option worth trying is implementation of an “Adopt-a-Can” program, similar to the largely successful Adopt-a-Road program administered by DOT. The proposed program would allow volunteer residents or businesses to “adopt” a can to maintain, expecting them to check on the can at regular intervals and collect any fugitive litter. The can would continue to be serviced at the current frequency by Redwood Waste Solutions (RWS). In exchange for their service, the volunteer would be provided safety equipment and a plaque would be mounted on the receptacle thanking them for helping to keep the community clean and free of litter. DOT estimates this program would cost no more than $500 per year on an ongoing basis, with the possibility of slightly higher startup costs in staff time to develop processes, conduct community outreach, and to purchase initial plaques. DOT has drafted a proposed amendment to County Policy No. 14 “Encroachment Permits,” attached for the Board’s review and consideration, which would allow for the implementation of such a program. The program would also be available in the Hopland area where the County also maintains public streetside litter containers. DOT recommends and respectfully requests the Board to approve the proposed amendment to County Policy No. 14, adding provisions for an Adopt-A-Can Program.
For the Board’s information, the following are other recent developments related to the Town of Mendocino public streetside litter containers: All cans were recently cleaned and repainted by RWS, improving their appearance drastically. Additionally, DOT staff has looked into the option of purchasing split liners to allow for recycling on one side of the receptacles. Staff was only able to find the split liners available from one company and received a quote of over $8,500 for the new liners. Although it may be possible to budget funds for this purchase, staff does not believe the purchase is worthwhile considering the high amount of recycling contamination likely to occur. Other jurisdictions with split trash and recycling receptacles have reported contamination levels so high that contents of both sides have to be landfilled.
I will, of course, respond to any questions the Board may have.
Howard N. Dashiell Director of Transportation
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Attached: Public Trash Cans Are For The Public
Dear Town of Mendocino Resident or Business Owner:
The County of Mendocino provides street-side litter containers in the town of Mendocino for the public's convenient disposal of incidental refuse. As you may have noticed, these litter containers are becoming a growing nuisance due to overflowing litter, despite the County’s increased frequency of service to the containers. It has become apparent through investigations that a large part of the issue is increased litter from residents and business owners/employees depositing litter accumulated in their residence or business into the containers.
If you are a resident or business owner using the public litter containers as your method of waste disposal for your residence or business, you must cease immediately. California State Law and Mendocino County Code (MCC) require all owners or tenants of any premises, business establishments, or industries to remove trash accumulated on their property. MCC Section 9A.08.040 provides that waste disposal shall occur by either subscribing to a collection service by the franchised collector or self-hauling to a transfer station. If you are the landlord of a building intended for the occupation of human beings, California Civil Code Section 1941.1 requires you to provide an adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage.
Further, MCC Section 9A.24.090 states “No person shall place refuse generated in a residential unit or commercial premises in a street side litter container.” Residents or business owners found to be in violation of this can receive a Notice of Violation and be required to pay an Administrative Penalty in an amount as defined in MCC Section 1.08.060.
If you are not already doing so, please help alleviate the litter problem in the Town of Mendocino by either subscribing to collection service or developing a self-haul program for your residence or business, or by requiring this of your tenant(s) if applicable. For information on collection service, please contact the franchised collector Redwood Waste Solutions at (707) 234-6400. For information on local transfer station locations and hours, https://swowservices.com/locations.
The County of Mendocino and your community appreciate your cooperation. Sincerely,
Howard N. Dashiell, Solid Waste Director
NAME CHANGERS STILL AT IT
Change Our Name Fort Bragg will hold a Teach-in, free and open to the public, at which reasons for and implications of a Fort Bragg name change will be discussed.
The three presenters will be John Fremont, publisher and former Civil Rights Freedom Rider, Lawyer Paula Goodwin, and psychologist Dr. Richard Louis Miller.
The program will be held on Tuesday October 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Bragg Library Community room. This program is neither sponsored by nor affiliated with the Mendocino County Library/Museum.
Philip Zwerling, Ph.D.
Change Our Name Fort Bragg
PRIOR TO WHAT?
Identified with that which Is Prior to Consciousness & Chanting Hare Krishna
"The way of jnana yoga with a touch of bhakti yoga is to identify with that which is prior to consciousness, and give the mind the maha mantra to perform. Simple as that!"
Craig Louis Stehr
DR. KIM CHEN WANTS TO REDUCE PATIENTS’ FEAR OF DENTISTS
Mendocino County Health Center Health Centers is pleased to welcome Dr. Kim Chen, an experienced dentist who is on a mission to provide excellent care while reducing people’s fear of going to the dentist. Chen is a general dentist who’ll be seeing pediatric patients aged 8 and younger in Ukiah.
According to researchers, between 50 and 80 percent of American adults have some degree of dental anxiety, ranging from mild to severe. Chen believes that parents often pass on this fear to their children.
“I once had an Iraqi war veteran come in with a toothache. He said he would rather go into combat than go to the dentist. When I left for a moment to review his x-rays, he lost his courage and left without being treated,” she said.
Chen explains that when children go to the dentist for the first time, it should be a preventive visit—one where the dentist and child get to know each other. Ideally, a child’s first visit occurs at about six months of age when the first tooth emerges.
When babies and toddlers become accustomed to dental visits and they develop good dental habits that prevent cavities and other infections, they have no reason to fear the dentist. On the other hand, when a child’s first visit to the dentist includes a painful procedure, the child will often associate going to the dentist with pain, potentially kicking off life-long dental anxiety.
“When parents wait to bring in their child for a problem, everything is more difficult. We must use a needle to inject anesthesia, and if there is already swelling, anesthesia doesn’t work as well. Better to come in before problems start,” she said.
Chen understands what it is like to be afraid of the dentist. In fact, this is the reason she became a dentist. Originally, Chen planned to be an engineer, but when she overcame her own fear of going to the dentist, she decided to help others do the same.
Originally from Taiwan, Chen grew up in Florida and moved to California for college, graduating from the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry in 1998. She chose to do community health rather than private practice, and has worked with both adults and children—though she prefers to work with children because “kids are fun,” she explained.
MCHC Chief Medical Officer Matt Swain said, “Dr. Chen puts people at ease. She is great with kids and is able to help them relax. We’re so happy she joined our dental team.”
MCHC CEO Rod Grainger agreed, noting that both Lake and Mendocino Counties suffer from a shortage of dentists. Grainger said, “Our goal is to continually adjust to meet the evolving needs of our community, so bringing an experienced dentist to the area is a win.”
MCHC uses a team-based approach to provide dental, medical, and behavioral health care to people in Ukiah, Willits, and Lakeport.
(MCHC Health Centers includes Hillside Health Center and Dora Street Health Center in Ukiah, Little Lake Health Center in Willits, and Lakeview Health Center in Lakeport. It is a community-based and patient-directed organization that provides comprehensive primary healthcare services as well as supportive services such as education and translation that promote access to healthcare.)
MENTAL HEALTH & LAW ENFORCEMENT
To: Adam Gaska:
I recall what you said to me. You don’t know til you know, right!
Great analogy, the hammer being the only tool and everything looks like a nail…
Except it is wrong and untrue..
Maybe even an excuse… hmmm
I may agree with everything looking like a nail to those whom only want to utilize the hammer.
But that just means they are blind and only focused on what suits them, not the community as a whole.
So I do not like it one bit!
And no it is not a tough call on who to send when someone is in a mental illness crisis! You send a crisis team who is trained and can act appropriately for the person in need! Period!!
As far as Fort Bragg’s Care Response Unit seeing someone that is a “transient” that might need services and directing and helping them get to those places is great however that is not the type of Crisis I refer to when speaking on these matters. The point being there is no need for a care response unit at this time because the dual crisis response can also function in this manner and should!
The components are in place, we do not need more components we need to address the ones we have to work effectively for our families.
Starting with the narrative that Law Enforcement is a hammer with one tool that only sees a nail.
That is not true they just want to control the hammer if the burden of responding to mental illness crisis is an unwanted problem the only logical answer is to have a different response team that does not include police!!
You do not get to control how the job gets done then also say it is not your job!!
Just like the new courthouse, psych hospital and jail getting up to date with the times our thinking around these issues needs a massive restructuring!!
Thank you, you’re welcome !
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“If law enforcement does not want to include themselves as mental health workers, then why are they running the mobile crisis unit?”
Simple answer: this was the only way we could keep the Mental Health workers safe while they meet the person in crisis, in the field where the crisis is occurring.
Law enforcement officers are trained in law enforcement, not mental health counseling. it’s not fair to the person in crisis or to the officer to be placed into a position they aren’t trained for, however we can keep the counselors safe while they complete the duties which they are trained to handle.
It’s had a great effect and we need more of it.
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I understand that protecting Mental Health workers and that is not even in question. Also not one person or family or service provider is asking law enforcement to provide mental health counseling, no one is asking that of you! We are insisting however that your response is appropriate for persons in mental illness crisis! Dual crisis response is not 24/7 which means 1/2 the time Law Enforcement is responding to these calls with no mental health clinician for you to back up or your not responding leaving people in crisis. You can not have your cake and eat it too.
* * *
And when we aren’t trained for Mental Health crisis how do we ensure a response is proper and measured? That is why many law enforcement agencies are stepping away from Mental Health responses.
People tend to forget if a man kills me because the man has severe mental health issues or because the man has robbed a bank, and is attempting to elude me, I am equally dead. My wife is equally a widow, and my children are equally orphaned.
That being said, lawsuits and peril for officers are much more frequent in response to Mental Health cases because the public expects Law Enforcement to respond differently to Mental Health than crime when often the dangers are equal.
* * *
If we go back to the original point, which is the narrative of law enforcement not being mental health workers. We all know you are not and are not asking you to be, however it is your duty as public servants to effectively and appropriately respond when someone is in need and their only option for help is police. Its about the mind set the and the continuance of saying things that are harmful and not helpful to those in need in a crisis, all that narrative does is create a bigger gap in assistance in these situations. The crisis response needs to remove that narrative from its “toolbox” There is always concern for all responding in these situations the officers too however that is where education and Crisis Intervention Training is very beneficial. Also to assume or make it sound like all the calls for intervention and help are dangerous because people are mentally ill adds unnecessary stigma to people in immediate need of help. Families are requesting Law Enforcement to have some knowledge and compassion and respond with dignity not an outdated ineffective mindset! I respect Law Enforcement, I think you know that, no family should be scared of what Law Enforcement’s response will be in a mental illness crisis!
* * *
Mazzie, we are in a conversation in which one does not have to be wrong in order for the other to be correct. I am often in conversations where everyone at the table is right.
Where you stand on a subject is often dictated by where you sit and the experiences that shape your values and beliefs. I can only speak from my experiences in law enforcement.
My question is and shall be for many years to come, how many failures in the system are blatantly seen before 911 is ever dialed?
Was there any thought of dealing with problems while they were still small?
What resources were put towards these issues? Or did we wait until the house was fully engulfed in flames and the fire had been ignored until it became an issue for the neighbors?
At that point we in law enforcement are expected to solve a problem that has been years in the making.
We have thousands of success stories. However one failure is all we see when the news reports on it.
I don’t see anyone dissecting the problem and creating a timeline listing the failures leading up to the fire. What I do see are the dangers and liabilities that seem to be placed at the feet of law enforcement every time. That must stop if we want to get a handle on these issues.
If firemen were sued and jailed for failures to extinguish, soon we would have a vacuum of firemen and the arsonists would be having a field day.
That is simply a fact.
* * *
Dear Sheriff Kendall,
I agree everyone has their side from their own experience thats reality. However it has nothing to do with wrong or right action or even false narratives. Besides no one expects Law Enforcement to be mental health workers, just the right response; it’s not hard. I honestly and wholeheartedly give same degree of failure of response on the other side of the coin, the whole entire system in fact. I mean we could definitely start with the crisis line failures and how the contract is set up through Behavioral Health and Redwood Community Services to not respond to someone in mental illness crisis in the field and the protocol is to refer you to police and then they refer you back to crisis. So there is absolutely no accountability and responsibility. All the way across the board. It is not a direct affront blaming Law Enforcement for the entire systemic failure. Also in issues of serious mental illness most often it hits around the age 20 and at that point there is no intervention on behalf of adults who have no fault brain illness’s no matter how sick and out of touch with reality they are. There is none! Again no one is asking you to solve the problems only that you intervene appropriately when necessary. You have thousands of success stories about responding to a mental illness crisis or in general law enforcement duties? Was it a dangerous liability to go search for 4 days for Riley Hsieh who was in a mental illness crisis? Law Enforcement Acted quite quickly to find him regardless of lack of knowledge and training in responding to these crisis situations. Oh and the liability that’s all you see… ?
* * *
Liability is far from the only concern on these issues, safety of the subject, the public, my deputies and general well being of the community have to come first.
That being said liability can’t be ignored. It would be foolish to pretend it doesn’t exist. … Darn it, we ran out of room to reply on this thread. I think everyone is missing the point. Mazie and I are putting our points out from our point of view, however we seem to agree on most things. This is one of those issues which everyone at the table is correct.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, October 12, 2023
CHRISTOPHER ASHURST, Ukiah. Narcotics for sale.
JUAN GARCIA-RAMIREZ, Ukiah. DUI with prior, suspended license for DUI.
ADAM JLANI, Roseville/Ukiah. Domestic abuse, county parole violation.
KIMBRLY LIVINGSTON, Fort Bragg. Under influence, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
SETH SMART, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
NOUDENG SOMCHANH, Fresno/Ukiah. DUI.
SAN RAFAEL COPS
Gary Smith Writes: Not sure it belongs in the AVA but have a look. All three videos are worth a watch. I’m especially offended by the Latina cop treating a fellow Mexican that way.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
A skunk is the very most powerfully armed creature on the planet – a skunk can easily make a wolf or a mountain lion back down. Back in the 70’s when I was a grubby backpacker I used to hike a lot in the Great Smokies up in the high country. There were a few shelters like Spence Field that had resident skunks who lived around the backpackers overnite shelters installed by the park service. These are open lean to’s built of logs or stone and with bunks and a fireplace. I’ve experienced cold wet nites around warm fires and a skunk comes in to shake down a bunch of hikers. We share peanuts, candy bars etc. with the obviously panhandling skunk. One very cold night I had the great fortune to actually sleep with a skunk curled up at the foot of my sleeping bag. I forgot about it, nothing I could do about it, and the animal was gone the next morning.
IS CALIFORNIA’S CLIMATE LAWSUIT AGAINST BIG OIL A GAMECHANGER?
by Juan Cole
The depths of depravity into which unvarnished capitalism can plunge mortal souls is incalculable. It should come as no surprise then that oil company executives and the officials of petrostates like Saudi Arabia have so assiduously lied to us about the catastrophic effects of climate change. After all, the executives of tobacco firms have been perfectly content to sell consumers a product long known and virtually guaranteed to cut their lives short, while lying about its harmful effects for decades. Likewise, the courts have now made the pharmaceutical industry’s responsibility for and grasp of the opioid crisis that killed half a million people all too clear.
In both instances, state attorneys-general played an important role in seeking redress. Now, Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, has filed a 135-page lawsuit against five major oil companies — ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and BP — which could prove an inflection point in the battle against human-caused climate change.
On announcing the lawsuit, Bonta said, “Oil and gas companies have privately known the truth for decades — that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change — but have fed us lies and mistruths to further their record-breaking profits at the expense of our environment. Enough is enough.”
Born in the Philippines to an American father and a Filipina mother, Bonta spent his early years near Keene, California, where the United Farm Workers had established its headquarters. There, both his father Warren and his mother Cynthia helped organize Filipino-American and Mexican-American laborers. Bonta went on to get a Yale law degree and ultimately entered politics, being elected to the California State Assembly in 2012.
His background clearly impressed upon him the special vulnerability of working-class groups to climate change. “We will meet the moment and fight tirelessly on behalf of all Californians,” he pledged, “in particular those who live in environmental justice communities.” As he explained in a footnote in his brief for that lawsuit: “’Frontline communities” are those that are and will continue to be disproportionately impacted by climate change. In many cases, the most harmed are the same communities that have historically experienced racial, social, health, and economic inequities.”
The destructive impact of human-caused climate change on California has, in fact, unfolded before our eyes. Eleven of the 20 largest California wildfires have taken place since 2018. Unusually frequent, wide-ranging, and ever-fiercer wildfires have even chased from their homes some of the Golden State’s most famous celebrities, leaving behind just glowing cinders. The now-seemingly annual rampages of those increasingly massive conflagrations can cause us to forget how remarkable the damage has been in these years.
In 2018, pop singer Miley Cyrus announced that the Malibu home she shared with her then-fiancé Chris Hemsworth had been devoured by flames, writing on social media, “Completely devastated by the fires affecting my community. I am one of the lucky ones. My animals and LOVE OF MY LIFE made it out safely & that’s all that matters right now. My house no longer stands but the memories shared with family & friends stand strong . . . I love you more than ever, Miley.” That year, Orlando Bloom, Bella Hadid, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Gerard Butler suffered similar losses.
Well-heeled celebrities, however, have the resources to get through such crises. Farm laborers who must harvest crops while breathing soot-filled air risk adverse health effects, including respiratory and heart disease. Others have lost their jobs and incomes entirely when wildfires encroached on fields and orchards. Not getting paychecks thanks to raging fires at their worksites can, in turn, cause such workers to miss mortgage payments and lose their homes. And sometimes, of course, their own homes, like those of the stars, have been torched.
Connecting The Dots
In 2021, wildfires almost entirely razed the town of Paradise, California. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg visited the aftermath. On hearing one man’s devastating account of how he and his family barely escaped their fiery, collapsing home, she said, “We see all of these things repeating themselves over and over again. People die, and people suffer from it. But we completely fail to connect the dots.”
Her evident frustration at the time should be considered significantly more consequential than it might seem. A team of Norwegian researchers has found that, of all the emotions provoked by human-caused climate change, the one most associated with activism against it is anger. Anger at politicians or CEOs who have played key roles in enabling the phenomenon that causes such destruction animates many climate protesters. As they suggested, Thunberg’s vivid speeches are but one example of the righteous anger provoked by those who could have but haven’t moved to mitigate the effects of global warming.
For his part, Attorney General Bonta isn’t in any doubt about where to lay the blame. As he put it, “With our lawsuit, California becomes the largest geographic area and the largest economy to take these giant oil companies to court. From extreme heat to drought and water shortages, the climate crisis they have caused is undeniable. It is time they pay to abate the harm they have caused.” By focusing on five major oil companies, he and California Governor Gavin Newsom have given the state’s environmentalists a target for their anger.
Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island are already pursuing similar legal actions and small wonder why. When it comes to California, for instance, scientists have recorded a fivefold increase in the summer burned areas in forests stretching from the middle of the state north during the past two and a half decades. And that devastatingly large burn area is anything but just the result of cyclical droughts. In fact, researchers demonstrated this summer that almost all of it has been caused by the human production of carbon dioxide through the burning of gasoline, natural gas, and coal. Worse yet, their projections suggest that ever larger and more devastating burn areas will be part of our landscape in the decades to come as humanity pumps out yet more carbon pollution.
The heat and long-term drought that’s gone with it have transformed California’s northern forests into so much tinder. After its wildfires of 2020, leading climate scientist Michael Mann observed, “These are known as compound drought and heat wave (CDHW) events and refer to situations wherein a region experiences both prolonged hot temperatures and a shortage of water.” His team predicts that such events will more than double in number and in duration, while quadrupling in intensity, if carbon pollution continues to be produced at its current rate.
Worse yet, California now faces a double whammy — not just vastly increased wildfires and drought in some regions but major flooding in others. And in drought-stricken areas, sudden, massive rainfall simply runs off desiccated soil, adding to the risk of overflowing waters.
As it happens, human-made global warming hasn’t just heated up lands across the planet, but the oceans, too. In fact, this summer, ocean water temperatures broke all previous heat records and that also puts more moisture into the atmosphere. Worse yet, climate change has heated the atmosphere itself and warmer air holds more moisture. That change has, in turn, made the “atmospheric rivers” carrying moisture from the tropics to the temperate zone far more destructive.
Not surprisingly, then, on the last day of 2022, 5.5 inches of rain deluged downtown San Francisco, while putting all six lanes of Highway 101 to its south under water. A week later, Governor Newsom watched as sheets of rainfall, driven by 70-mile-an-hour winds, knocked out power to 345,000 people in the state capital, Sacramento.
This summer, the giant State Farm and Allstate insurance companies, ever more aware of the toll climate change was taking on their bottom lines in California, announced that they would no longer accept new customers there. As an explanation, State Farm cited “rapidly growing catastrophe exposure.” Take a moment to let that sink in. The situation humanity has created is now so calamitous that insurance companies are no longer willing to take on the once-safe bet that most houses will continue standing unharmed for decades.
If California were an independent country, it would have the fifth-largest economy in the world. As Attorney General Bonta notes, it has the deep pockets to take on the oil companies. And significantly, that state’s government is already among the world’s most forward-looking in combating climate change. In 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring that all cars sold in California by 2035 be battery-electric or hybrid vehicles. The plan has spurred similar actions by six other states.
In the past five years, electric vehicles as a percentage of new vehicle registrations in the Golden State have indeed skyrocketed from 2% to 22%. No less impressive, around 60% of the state’s electricity is now generated by low-carbon sources like wind and solar. To smooth out the transitions between solar and wind generation, California has put in 5 gigawatts of battery power, the most of any state, to forestall blackouts and avoid the necessity of using natural gas to fill the gap.
They Lied. They Deceived.
The attorney general’s filing against the oil companies asserts their culpability: “Oil and gas company executives have known for decades that reliance on fossil fuels would cause these catastrophic results, but they suppressed that information from the public and policymakers by actively pushing out disinformation on the topic.” This duplicity, the suit argues, was itself grounds for seeking redress. “Their deception,” it continues, “caused a delayed societal response to global warming. And their misconduct has resulted in tremendous costs to people, property, and natural resources, which continue to unfold each day.”
In an interview with KCAL television, Bonta pulled no punches: “They must pay for their own actions… They lied. They deceived. They falsely advertised. They undermined the science and made claims that were counter to the truth. We’re holding them accountable for that.” When challenged by the interviewer, who warned the attorney general that he would need a “smoking gun” showing that the corporations were deceitful, Bonta didn’t hesitate: “We have smoking guns. Multiple. We have one from the 1960s. We have others in the decades that have followed. It is a very clear trend.”
His complaint is, in fact, festooned with such damning pieces of internal evidence, including a 1982 memo by Exxon scientist Roger Cohen, which admitted “a clear scientific consensus” on the expected effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide on the climate and suggested that doubling greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere would result in roughly a 3° Celsius (5.4° Fahrenheit) average global temperature rise, bringing about “significant changes in the earth’s climate, including rainfall distribution and alterations in the biosphere.”
In 1800, as the industrial revolution began, there were just 282 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Today, in part because of energy industry foot-dragging, there are about 420 ppm of CO2 and we’re speeding toward the 564 ppm that Cohen predicted would radically change our very biosphere. Climate scientist Michael Mann has pointed out in his new book Our Fragile Planet that, during the Pliocene era, 3.5 million years ago, that kind of ramp-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced a tropical world with ocean waters 30 feet higher than they are now.
Despite the warnings of Cohen and others, in 1989, Exxon joined other oil companies in forming the Global Climate Coalition, which combated attempts to reduce fossil-fuel consumption, while assuring journalists and politicians that “the role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood.” Some of those companies like Exxon even funded climate denialism when they knew perfectly well that it was a lie.
In the 1990s and thereafter, the oil companies, the California lawsuit alleges, went on to use organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council lobbying group to pressure Washington to do nothing about carbon pollution. At the same, they attempted to convince concerned Americans that climate change either wasn’t happening or, if it was, had nothing to do with burning fossil fuels.
In a distinctly overheating world, where heat records of all sorts are now regularly being broken, the denialism of Big Oil and its henchmen, including today most of the Republican Party, is already a crime of the first order. The California suit is cleverly crafted. If there is one thing you can’t do in societies like ours, where property rights are so central, it’s damage someone’s property knowingly and under the cover of deception.
The internal memos of scientists that have surfaced in such abundance from the very bowels of the petroleum corporations could be their biggest Achilles heel. They demonstrate that the injuries they have inflicted on the Earth are not simply an unforeseen side effect of their product but, at least in part, the result of a deliberate cover-up.
At last, Greta Thunberg’s hope that someone, especially someone with the power to do something, would finally get mad and connect the dots is being fulfilled. Let’s hope that California succeeds in both setting a meaningful precedent and making those companies pay in a big way, ending impunity for the most dangerous and deceitful assault on our environment in human history.
(This column is distributed by TomDispatch.)
EUROPE, GET OFF OUR SPEECH LAWN
The European Union deigns to lecture America on free expression
by Matt Taibbi
The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, has sent letters to Mark Zuckerberg of Meta and Elon Musk at X, demanding they comply with the EU’s sweeping new Internet regulation, the Digital Services Act.
Both Breton letters contained passages complaining of platform failure to remove “illegal content,” a concept that is surely coming to the U.S. soon, if we don’t put up a fight. From the letter to Zuckerberg:
“I would ask that you be very vigilant to ensure strict compliance with DSA rules on terms of service, on the requirement of timely, diligent, and objective action following notices of illegal content in the EU, and on the need for proportionate and effective mitigation measures.”
The equivalent line in the Musk letter:
“When you receive notices of illegal content in the EU, you must be timely, diligent, and effective in taking action and removing the relevant content when warranted. We have, from qualified services, reports of potentially illegal content circulating on your service.”
I don’t think it’s enough for Zuckerberg and Musk to reject Breton. I think they should hire Louis C.K. and have him flown to Brussels to tell Breton in person, American-style, to eat a bag of d—:
Breton advertised his ultimatum to both firms, tweeting that he wrote Musk because “following the terrorist attacks by Hamas against [Israeli flag emoji], we have indications of X/Twitter being used to disseminate illegal content & disinformation,” while to Zuckerberg he claimed the motive involved “tackling disinformation in elections in the EU.”
I don’t often go on jingoistic rants, but my tolerance for European bureaucrats in smart glasses instructing Americans what to do on civil liberties questions is zero. The Digital Services Act is a grotesque, nakedly authoritarian law written in language so obnoxious in its pompous inscrutability that it would have impressed Orwell or Huxley. Breton’s mention of “qualified sources” is a reference to the law’s most heinous and dystopian portion, the so-called “trusted flagger” program, which puts a clutch of elitist NGO busybodies in charge of poring through content to decide for the rabble what is untrue or “harmful,” as a means of “defending European norms.”
Does one of those “European norms” involve politicians spending a generation patronizing American-developed Internet technology (including, one presumes, porn sites) before turning around after decades and telling American Internet companies how and by whom they should submit to European-chosen decency committees? Silicon Valley execs should respectfully invite the EU to launch its own fully-policed Deutschebookplatform, send a middle finger emoji back over the pond, and spend the rest of the day blowing up IKEA shelf units with M-80s in their office parking lots.
One of the major subplots of the new “censorship-industrial complex” era involves the lead role Europe has assumed in implementing draconian speech laws, its leaders opining with imperious certainty that its restrictive conceptions of speech will be brought to the United States, whether we like it or not. If you haven’t seen the video of European Commission VP Věra Jourová at the World Economic Forum telling the nodding cucktastic toady-moderator Brian Stelter about “illegal hate speech, which you will have soon also in the U.S.,” I recommend taking a downer or two before you watch the following. You will want to race outside and start running Saabs off the road.
American citizenship comes with bad features as well, but a thing that is and always has surely been good about being born in the U.S. is our instinctive disinclination to letting anyone tell us what to do. Our national story moreover specifically revolves around refusing to let Europeans tell us what to do.
Thierry Breton wants Americans to police speech at his say-so? He can put on his tri-cornered hat, sail over here, and make us. Right? Doesn’t anyone have a spine anymore?
Conditions in Gaza Grow Dire as Israel Strikes Back at Hamas
With over 300,000 people newly homeless, the U.N. warned of a humanitarian “disaster.” As Israeli troops moved toward the border for a possible ground invasion, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.
by Edward Wong, Hiba Yazbek and Sama Abu Elouf, et al
Six days of Israeli airstrikes have left more than 300,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip homeless, with two million residents facing critical shortages of food, water and fuel, while Israeli troops prepared on Thursday for a possible ground invasion after Hamas’s deadly weekend assault.
Retaliating for the bloodiest attack on Israel in 50 years, Israel is pummeling Gaza with a ferocity not seen in past conflicts and has cut off vital supplies to the coastal territory. Health officials in Gaza, home to two million people, said the Israeli bombardment had killed more than 1,500 people and injured over 6,600 others.
Israel’s military says that it is hitting places used by Hamas, which controls Gaza, including mosques, houses and other outwardly civilian locations. Gazans say the airstrikes are doing indiscriminate damage to civilians and civilian sites, and independent observers have confirmed that schools and ambulances have been destroyed.
The retaliatory strikes began after Hamas terrorists broke through the border fence with Israel on Saturday morning and attacked towns, kibbutzim and a military base, killing more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians, wounding about 3,000 others and kidnapping about 150 hostages, the Israeli government said.
Gaza’s only power plant stopped generating electricity on Wednesday for lack of fuel, shutting down everything from lights to refrigerators, and much of the region lacks running water. Hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded patients and running out of vital supplies; fuel for generators and vehicles is dwindling rapidly; food and water are growing scarce; and it is not clear when humanitarian aid might be allowed in.
“We are facing a huge disaster,” Adnan Abu Hasna, an official with the United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees, said by phone from Gaza. He described conditions as “absolutely horrible.”
With the United States stepping up its weapons shipments to Israel, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a military base in Tel Aviv to reinforce support for Israel “as long as America exists.”
“I come before you not only as the U.S. secretary of state, but also as a Jew,” said Mr. Blinken, whose stepfather, Samuel Pisar, survived Nazi concentration camps. “I understand on a personal level the harrowing echoes that Hamas’s massacres carry for Israeli Jews and for Jews everywhere.”
He added, “This is, this must be, a moment for moral clarity.”
But Mr. Blinken also suggested the need for caution in Israel’s retaliation. “It’s important to take every possible precaution to prevent harming civilians,” he said.
Mr. Netanyahu has said that Hamas shot children in the head, burned people alive, raped women and decapitated soldiers.
In a videoconference call to NATO headquarters, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of Israel showed a video of the Hamas attacks that Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, called “horrific.” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III later added, “We are appalled by the emerging scope of the atrocities committed by the terrorists of Hamas.”
The White House said 27 U.S. citizens were killed in the Hamas attack, and the State Department said there were 500 to 600 Americans living or visiting in Gaza whose safety it was trying to guarantee.
In a televised speech, the Hamas spokesman Abu Ubaida said the group had achieved more than it had hoped for in its attack, which he said involved a 3,000-person battalion and a 1,500-person backup force. He confirmed reports that Hamas had successfully duped Israeli intelligence into believing that it did not want a major conflict.
“We are telling the enemy, if you dare enter Gaza, we will destroy your army,” he said.
Israel has called up 360,000 reservists and is building up a large force on the border with Gaza — as well as a smaller one near the northern border with Lebanon — amid widespread speculation that it will invade the Hamas-held territory, which it last did in 2014.
The military “is preparing multiple operational contingency plans” for what it expects will be a protracted war, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, told reporters. “We’re waiting to see what our political leadership decides about a potential ground war. This has not been decided yet.”
He said Israeli warplanes were concentrating on striking targets belonging to an elite Hamas unit known as the Nukhba, which is believed to have led the attack on Israel. “We plan to get every one of those people,” he said.
Though Israeli forces retook all of the area overrun by the incursion within a few days, Hamas fighters were still trying to enter Israel, including by sea, Colonel Hecht said, adding that two were captured and five were killed on Wednesday.
In Gaza, 338,000 people have been displaced, the United Nations said, with most of them taking shelter in U.N. schools. Egypt, which with Israel has enforced a blockade of Gaza for 16 years, has refused to allow people fleeing the bombardment to enter its territory. U.S. officials said the Biden administration was talking with Israel and Egypt about safe passage for civilians to leave and relief supplies to enter.
Israeli warplanes have bombed 88 educational facilities in Gaza, including 18 U.N. schools, two of which were being used to shelter civilians, said Stéphane Dujarric, a U.N. spokesman.
Several medical and emergency workers have been killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza since Saturday, including four Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance drivers and paramedics who were killed on Wednesday, the group said.
Israel’s siege of Gaza, cutting off water, food and medical supplies, is “not acceptable,” Fabrizio Carboni, the Middle East director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said at a news briefing. He added, “We need a safe humanitarian space.”
A steady stream of broken and lifeless bodies was flowing into Gaza’s largest medical center, Al Shifa Hospital. Ambulances, yellow cabs and private vehicles screeched to a halt at the entrance to deliver the wounded. Adults arrived carrying injured children or pushing people on stretchers or wheelchairs.
Inside, bloodied patients sat or lay on the tile floor, waiting for treatment. Outside, bodies wrapped in white cloth lined the sidewalk waiting to be identified or collected by loved ones.
Many of the limestone villas and high-rise buildings surrounding the hospital in its affluent Gaza City neighborhood of Al Rimal have been reduced to rubble in the bombing. The Israeli military says the neighborhood is a financial hub for Hamas.
Hamas is backed by Iran, which is eager to derail efforts to normalize relations between its two regional archenemies, Saudi Arabia and Israel. U.S. officials say that, so far, they have seen no evidence of Iranian involvement in the Hamas attack.
But on Thursday, the United States and Qatar agreed to refreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue, preventing Tehran from spending it. The Biden administration agreed in August to release the money for Iran to spend on humanitarian needs in exchange for the release of Americans held prisoner in Iran.
The Hamas attack on Saturday came as a shocking setback for Israel, with its powerful military and renowned intelligence services. The security apparatus failed to anticipate the incursion, failed to see that its border defenses could be defeated easily and failed at first to grasp the breadth of the assault and coordinate a response. People pleading for help waited hours for police officers or troops to arrive.
While Israelis have largely shown solidarity in the aftermath, Israeli politicians have begun to face a backlash. On Wednesday, Idit Silman, a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party who serves as environmental minister, faced a heckling crowd while she visited injured people at a hospital.
“You are responsible! Go home,” yelled one person, according to video published by Ynet, a popular Israeli news site.
Transportation Minister Miri Regev was chased to her car and cursed at Thursday when she tried to visit the injured at a hospital, and security guards restrained a young man who hurled objects at her car. She has been widely criticized for not arranging emergency transportation for troops called to duty on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, when most public transportation shuts down.
Nir Barkat, the economy minister, also confronted a displeased crowd at a hospital, when he met with the wounded in Tel Aviv, according to video shared on social media.
In an interview with Channel 14 in Israel, a man named Shirel Chogeg grew increasingly irate as he described wounds his sister sustained when Hamas gunmen overran the Kfar Azza kibbutz and set fire to her family’s safe room.
“This terrible nightmare is registered on the names of all the Knesset members and on the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, these reckless people who don’t even take responsibility,” he said.
Herzi Halevi, the Israeli military chief of staff, acknowledged on Thursday that the military had not lived up to its responsibilities. “We will learn; we will investigate,” he said, “But now is the time for war.”
(New York Times)
HERE IS THE LATEST ON THE WAR (nytimes.com)
Frightened Palestinians packed belongings and left their homes in northern Gaza on Friday after Israel’s military demanded that more than a million civilians move to the south of the blockaded coastal strip, a possible precursor to a ground invasion but one that the United Nations warned could be calamitous.
Israel’s buildup of soldiers near the border with Gaza has fueled speculation that it is preparing to invade the Hamas-held territory in response to last weekend’s incursion that killed more than 1,300 people. Israel last sent troops into the enclave in 2014.
But many Gazans were reluctant to leave their homes, and Hamas officials urged Palestinians not to comply with what they called Israel’s “psychological warfare.”
Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes since Saturday, deadlier and more widespread than in its past campaigns in Gaza, have wiped out entire neighborhoods, brought the medical system to the brink of collapse and forced some 400,000 people into temporary shelters as they face dire shortages of food, water and fuel. Gaza’s health ministry said that 1,537 Palestinians, including 500 children, had been killed since Saturday, and that 6,612 people, one-quarter of them children, had been injured.
The United Nations pleaded for Israel to rescind the demand for a forced relocation out of fear of a humanitarian disaster. The Israeli military said on Friday morning that there was no firm deadline for people to leave the north and acknowledged that it “will take time.”
Panic gripped many residents of Gaza City, the most populous part of the territory, as they weighed whether to leave their homes for a more rural area with even fewer resources. The roads on the route have been damaged by a week of airstrikes, many people do not have cars and few have places to stay in southern Gaza.
Here is what else to know:
- Protests were taking place in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as well as in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Hamas has called for worldwide demonstrations on Friday to oppose Israeli actions in Gaza.
- A day after visiting Israel, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, met with King Abdullah II of Jordan and discussed the need to speed the delivery of emergency supplies into Gaza “while protecting civilians and working to end the escalation and the war,” according to a statement by Jordanian officials. Israel has said it will not allow any supplies into Gaza, and Egypt, which controls the other border with the territory, has not said whether it will do so.
- Mr. Blinken was later scheduled to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, which lost control of Gaza in 2007 when Hamas took it by force. Mr. Blinken is then expected to fly to Qatar, after which he will go on to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, in an effort to “prevent the conflict from spreading,” according to the State Department.
- A Hamas spokesman, Abu Ubaida, said Thursday that the group had achieved more than it had hoped for in its attack on Israel, which he said involved a 3,000-person battalion and a 1,500-person backup force. “We are telling the enemy, if you dare enter Gaza, we will destroy your army,” he said.
Edward Wong, Traveling with Secretary Blinken: U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has landed in Doha, Qatar, and is on his way to meet with the country’s leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Senior Hamas officials live in Qatar, and the Qatar government gives financial support to Gaza.
Alissa Rubin, Reporting from Baghdad: A giant crowd of Iraqis filled central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and the roads leading to it in a show of support for Palestinians. Called into the streets by the nationalist Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, people poured out of Baghdad’s mostly poorer neighborhoods to join together in a Friday prayer that was strikingly disciplined and only occasionally punctuated by chants of “No, No to Israel” and “No, No to America.”
When elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers. When leaders fight, it is their followers who suffer.— African proverb
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 12TH OCTOBER
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, marking the first foreign visit for the Russian leader this year, Russian news agencies said — and the first trip abroad since he was issued with an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court in March.
Russia’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.
In other news, Ukraine said it thwarted an overnight attempt by a Russian saboteur group to cross its north-eastern border in the Sumy region, the commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Thursday.
DESANTIS DECLARES MARTIAL LAW (and shamelessly exploits ME tragedies for personal electoral advantage)
SOME YOUNG LIVES MATTER MORE THAN OTHERS, Some Don’t Seem to Matter at All
by Jeffrey St. Clair
Perhaps I’ve become terminally jaded, but the blood-curdling bi-partisan calls from American politicians and pundits to obliterate Gaza–children be damned–don’t surprise me much. Some young lives matter more than others. Others don’t seem to matter at all.
My mind flashes back to Rachel Corrie, who I got to know slightly through email correspondence while she was a student at Evergreen and an environmental activist, leading protests against industrial clearcuts on near verticle slopes that threatened to bury small towns in the Washington Cascades under landslides.
What does it say about the American mentality that this courageous young woman was blamed by many here for her own murder? After being crushed to death by an IDF bulldozer, while trying to keep a Palestinian family’s house from being demolished so their land could be confiscated and auctioned off to Israeli settlers, Rachel was roundly vilified instead of mourned. Political outrage was directed at her, not the regime that killed her. She had it coming, they said. She could have just gotten out of the way. She shouldn’t have been allied with “them.” She had no business being there.
What is it in the twisted American psyche that would make her own country turn on a 23-year-old woman–smart, humane, fearless, and beautiful–who was doing nothing more than protecting what we’ve been led to believe is the most sacrosanct American “right”, the right of property, the right to be secure in your home?
It is, of course, the same mentality that pointed an accusatory finger at the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh for her own death, after being shot in the head by IDF snipers in Jenin, while wearing a helmet and vest emblazoned with “Press.” Some American lives matter more than others. Some don’t seem to matter at all.
The government of these two brave and accomplished American women never pressed for answers about their killings, never demanded that anyone be held to account. If they had, perhaps, the real story about what’s been going on in Israel and the Occupied Territories might have gotten a brief airing in the American media. Instead, the money and the weapons continued to flow into the hands of a regime that had demonstrated over and over again its willingness to use them against anyone who stood in its way, even women from the country that provided them.
Now here we are again, having to ask ourselves how many children Biden’s shipment of weapons to Israel will kill? How many tiny limbs will be lost? How many small heads will be crushed in the rubble? Will we see the bodies our bombs have mutilated? Get a body count of the deaths our tax dollars have underwritten? What doctrine of just war decrees that the deaths of children justify the killing of more children?
Where are the Rachel Corries and Shireen Abu Aklehs now, at this fraught moment? Voices who could break through the cacophony of vengeance, stand up against senseless slaughter and make the case for peace? And not just peace as a ceasefire, but a peace that rectifies the injustices of an apartheid system that has led to 75 years of dispossession, impoverishment, torture and killing.